gmhTODAY 08 gmhToday May June 2016 - Page 25

Kaden Kim, Isaac Muniz, and Ashley Cowell Young Entrepreneurs Written By Robin Shepherd T he entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well in our South County schools. As the 2015-16 school year draws to a close, a trio of sophomores from Live Oak High School took time out to speak with TODAY about their first brush with entrepreneurial success. For Isaac Muniz, Ashley Cowell and Kaden Kim, the journey began in November when they signed up to participate in a 13-week Junior Achievement program on entrepreneurship. The idea originated with Armando Garcia, a local business owner and Rotarian familiar with the entrepreneurship programs of Junior Achievement, a national non- profit organization. Junior Achievement approached Live Oak Principal Lloyd Webb, who welcomed the idea. Garcia spoke with Morgan Hill Rotary members, gmh who covered the program’s registration fee. He also recruited Morgan Hill Mayor Steve Tate, Jeff Perkins, Dan McCranie, Peter Anderson and Mario Banuelos to join him as program advisors. Feeding the Entrepreneurial Spirit Armando’s personal story inspired him to get involved. “I’ve always encouraged kids to stay in school because I dropped out before getting my high school diploma.” Armando said it was his entrepreneurial spirit that helped him overcome challenges and go on to run what became one of America’s fastest-growing Hispanic businesses of the early 1990s. “My own experience showed me that while small business is a big part of the economy, young people rarely get first-hand experience with how business works and GILROY • MORGAN HILL • SAN MARTIN MAY/JUNE 2016 what it takes to succeed. You’ve got to reach kids early, before they think they have it all figured out.” “In this year’s program, our students started with a blank slate, rolled up their sleeves, and did everything from organizing, financing and managing a company to planning, building and launching a product on time and within a budget. They also learned some valuable lessons that will serve them well in their careers.” Sophomores Launch a Startup Students brainstormed ideas and settled on two product concepts: a slip-on carry case for smartphones, and a coffee mug with a writeable surface. Based on estimates for potential profit margins, they went with the carry case. But like so many things in life, their best-laid plans would have to change. 25